Colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) are semiconductor nanocrystals synthesized with, processed in, and deposited from the solution phase, potentially enabling low-cost, facile manufacture of solar cells. Unfortunately, CQD solar cell reports, until now, have only explored batch-processing methods—such as spin-coating—that offer limited capacity for scaling. Spray-coating could offer a means of producing uniform colloidal quantum dot films that yield high-quality devices. Here, we explore the versatility of the spray-coating method by producing CQD solar cells in a variety of previously unexplored substrate arrangements. The potential transferability of the spray-coating method to a roll-to-roll manufacturing process was tested by spray-coating the CQD active layer onto six substrates mounted on a rapidly rotating drum, yielding devices with an average power conversion efficiency of 6.7%. We further tested the manufacturability of the process by endeavoring to spray onto flexible substrates, only to find that spraying while the substrate was flexed was crucial to achieving champion performance of 7.2% without compromise to open-circuit voltage. Having deposited onto a substrate with one axis of curvature, we then built our CQD solar cells onto a spherical lens substrate having two axes of curvature resulting in a 5% efficient device. These results show that CQDs deposited using our spraying method can be integrated to large-area manufacturing processes and can be used to make solar cells on unconventional shapes.
Colloidal quantum dot solar cells on curved and flexible substrates
Illan J. Kramer, Gabriel Moreno-Bautista, James C. Minor, Damir Kopilovic, Edward H. Sargent; Colloidal quantum dot solar cells on curved and flexible substrates. Appl. Phys. Lett. 20 October 2014; 105 (16): 163902. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4898635
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